Saturday, January 26, 2013

January 2013 in Texas

As stated in the last installment, we flew via Air Canada from Calgary to San Antonio through Houston where we changed planes, arriving at about 8:00PM. Denice's cousin Hettie and son Loren were there to pick us up, and take us back to New Braunfels and to Lorens acreage where ELTORO was set up. Thanks so much Loren. Its great to have a dedicated RV Pad, servised with water, power, and sewer,---and wifi, for our use whenever we need it.  Sure nice to be "Back Home.

On the way down

Our "Jello Plans" were to just stay only a few days in New Braunfels, before idling on down somewhere on a beach along the Gulf of Mexico, or possibly going out west to Arizona for a month.  I think some time back I mentioned that we have reserved space in Bentson RV Resort for a full year, but were unable to take our preferred site until March 15th, so we need to put in time until then. Now that we are here, we went with Hettie to have  a chest X-Ray. Results indicated a mass in the bottom of her right lung, and needed further tests to diagnose. We decided to sit tight until some results were available. She had multiple doctor appointments, a PET Scan, and finally a needle biopy was performed. Sounded at the outset to be a pretty simple procedure, but Denice and I went with her the morning of the op, and once the nurse started explaining the risks involved, it didn't sound so simple any more. there was a 30 to 50 percent chance of a lung collapse, and then a tube would have to be attached to the lung that a small compressor-like machine would behooked up to re-inflate the effected lung. That could be for a day, or a week, or longer. However the procedure went off without a hitch. Now a few more days to get the results of the biopsy. Tension was a little high for those days, and the most relaxed was Hettie! She was always a heavy smoker until about 7 years ago when she had throat cancer and had to have a laryngectomy. Anyway she has a hole in her throat to talk and breath through, so a cancer possibility is not new to her. This last Monday ( Jan 22nd) She, Son Loren, and Denice went to receive the results. News was not good, but could have been much worse. The mass is cancerious, but is small cell cancer that can, and will be treated with kemo and radiation, and was not the same kind that she had with her throat cancer. If it had been "non small cell" cancer, an operation may have been required to remove the bottom lobe of the effected lung. Until this time we had no idea about small cell and non small cell cancer, but it is worth your while to Google that. Explains a lot! Hettie will now undergo 4 weeks of kemo and radiation. Hopefully that will be a cure. We then decide we will move down to the Gulf rather than Arizona to be closer if she need support, as we will only be about 3 hours away.

a Cardinal at our feeders

Titmouse, also at our feeders

Sunset over the swimming pool

An occasional visitor

My ladies at the feed booth
We had been talking for some time about removing the chesterfield in ELTORO and relacing it with two easy chairs, and after visiting Camper World found that they had a pair of chair in their storage that someone had ordered, but then backed out on the deal, so they had then on a specila deal for $499 each rather than the $699 regular cost. They are a tan color, not quite as white as the ones in ELTORO, but still match OK, so we made the big step and purchased them. Now what to do with the chesterfield. Goodwill, dump, or Salvation Army were the choices. We want nothing for it, just some place to dispose of it. Checked out the dump, and that was an option, but seemed that the chesterfield was too good to just destroy. Some poor family shoud be able to make use of it. By the way, down here noboby knows what a chesterfield is. To them it is a sofa, or couch. Chesterfield to them is an English word. In fact Loren says he is going to get a Rosetta Stone to learn the Canadian language. Between Denice and I, we were able to get it out the door and under a tree. Then struggled to get the chairs back in, a very tight fit!! We ended up taking the "Couch" to Good Will, where they appreciated it very much and even asked if I would like a reciept for tax purposes. With the chairs in place, everything looked good, but now we needed some sort of table between the two. We did look in a variety of furniture stores, but could find nothing that suited us. We wanted something narrow, like less than one foot wide, so decided since cousin Loren had all the right tools, and I had the time, that I would just build what we had in mind. A trip to Home Depot for oak boards and hardware, and we were off to the races. A couple of days, and here are the results:
My completed table for between the chairs

Another view of same table
In Place

We reserved for a month at Bayview RV Park in Rockport/Fulton. Wednesday morning  we wrapped everything. Put away bird feeders and every thing else that we had out. Every thing completed by about 10:30AM. Loren had come over at 7:00 in the morning to say his good byes, and the Hettie stopped by at 9:00 on her way to another doctor appointment. A lot of hugs this morning. We have had a great couple of weeks visiting, and were very glad to be there to support Hettie in her time of need while having the medical procedures required.

We hooked up TOAD and went through the checklist twice to make sure we had not missed anything, as it has been a couple months since we had moved, so needed a little thought about all the items that needed to be covered. On the raod by 11:00AM. Stopped for gas in New Braunfels at Buc-EE'S, a new huge service center with over 50 pumps, maybe more as we were at pump #50. The trip to Rockport is quite short, down secondary highways, so we arrived by 2:00PM. Checked in and went to find our spot. Backed in and settled in. We weren't there more than an hour until one of our neighbors was over and invited us to a "block Party" on our local road. There is about 10 units along our road now named Jaxsen Heights, in honor of a very cute little girl of 18 months old. She is the only child here., The rest of us are Old Timers. Anyway we gladly accepted the invitation, so at 5:00PM went down to unit 230 to Theresa and Dicks place for a seafood dinner. They had purchased a gunny sack of osters at the beach, and were bar-b-queing them, of course after shucking them. Then the added cheese and other toppings to them and we had a delicious meal. There were also shrimp, salads, slaw, fruit, cake, hush puppies, and more. We felt as if we should have taken something, but were unprepared as we had just got here. But every body was so friendly, and the said they were just happy that we attended. We only took our chairs and what we wanted to drink. We were all in the same boat as nobody really knew hot to do Oysters, so there was a little experimenting to figure the best way to cook them, and a learning experience to shuck them. Now in a gunny sack there is about 100 lbs and over 300 individual oysters, so we had a lot to learn on.Now, I am not a real oyster fan, other than smoked ones from a can, but I must admit these were very good. Bye the end of the evening everyone was full of oysters. Activity of the next day was to go to HEB for a few groceries. A few I mean is 100 dollars worth, seems never less that 100 dollars. Once home with them and a jug of ant killer, we have some of them, we stored the groceries. Wern't home more than an hour and our neighbor was back saying we had to have another block party as there still was a half bag of unshucked oysters to consume. So we were going to go over at 4:30, but about at that time I decided I should add another year and another 800 minutes. We had bought what I thought was to appropriate card for 1 year and 400 double your minutes card. I tried to add minutes on my tracphone, but it would not accept the pin number. Better call their 1-800 number. I did and the gal could not add the pin either. Referred to a supervisor. You guessed it:  India!! He asks a bunch of questions, and then tells me i did not need this card that I paid 125 dollars for. When I originally bought the phone and first card it was for double your minutes for life. How was I to know??  Small writing, right!! Anyway after burning my minutes to India for 15 minutes he finally gave me a year and 900 minutes. By now the block party was in full swing, and by the time we got there we were just in time to be the help. Denice went to cooking fries and shrimp. I was oyster shucker. Never done that before ,but I persevered. So I learned a new experience. There were lots and lots of all the food and soon everybody was filled to the gills with all that delicious food. Some cooked oysters still remained at the close of the evening. There was some indication of having to have a 3rd block party the next night.

Event while back in Canada for December and Christmas

Well here it is. I know its past history and I have been rather slow to get this done, but will try to give a little up date. It is going to tax my memory to remember what happened during that month. Being a senior, you know the memory is not as good as it once was.

Well, we arrived home from North Carolina on November 29th, I think. It was cool in North Carolina, so cold they had to deice the plane before we left Raleigh,  but colder when we arrived home. Our friend from Okotoks, Ron Caputo, picked us at the airport and drove us home to High River. Thanks again Ron. Our neighbors who had been watching the house for us had the temperature turned up so at least the house was warm. Wasn't long until we were settled back in, but immediately had to go and restock to frig and pantry with groceries.

For the next several days we just sort of hibernated, waiting out the cold spell that was settled over us. The day time temperatures never got much above about -15 deg C. Both Denice and I had doctor appointments so we did that and also Eye appointments. Denice's was to check for any abnormalties from diabetes, she passed with flying colors, and mine was to check a "Floater" that has been a nuisance for the last couple of months. Nothing can be done about it, and should just go away on its own eventually.

Friends, Buck and Jean, stopped by on their way from Thorhild to Pincher Creek. Both were in Great shape and were impressed with a hand held laser machine that had benefited both of them so much. Jean has been nursing a bad knee for a couple of years now and after a few self treatments she is much improved, and is even able to negotiote stairs with little effort. Buck, has had a bad shoulder for a long time, and he swears it does not pain any more, but then he is a man, so who knows! They had planned on only having coffee, but we encouraged them to stay the night as weather was not good, and besides we had a lot of catching up to do.

One week end we spent in Pincher Creek ourselves as it was our Daughter Shannon's "Ladies Night" Denice tells me there were 23 ladies there, where they engaged in an exchange gift program. There is a process where the first person opens a gift of her choice, then the second person can choose another one,,, or take the first persons open gift, and so on down the line. Sounds like they had a lot of fun. Of course a little wine and coolers helped ease the tension. Meanwhile, Don and I went to Don's brother Lorne's place and watched TV.

On a sadder note, On Dec 17th we attended a "Celebration of Life" for our neighbor Lawrence Harriman who succumbed to pluera cancer a month earlier. Although we had only known the Harrimans for about 5 years that we have lived on Riverside Drive in High River, we valued him as a good friend and neighbor. We shared the same villa with the Harrimans, and now Marlene will live alone. We will always be there to help you Marlene. Do not hesitate to call for any difficulties you may have.

Now, the main reason for our returning from the warm south. Christmas. The whole family gathered at Shannon and Don's in Pincher Creek. This year we had resolved to draw names for gift exchange in an effort to get back to the real spirit of Christmas. It is the intention to try and give gifts we make our selves, but in some cases that was not possible. The only ones not included in the name drawing was Great- Grandsons, Joel and Leigh. Of course everyone gave them lots of neat stuff. We all had stockings stuffed with smaller useful everyday items.  The two "Boys" played long and hard all day with their loot. Highlight of the day was the big turkey and ham dinner with all the trimmings. It just doesn't get any better than that!!

Then a couple of more cold weeks over New Years until we were prepared to fly back south to warmer climes. We had booked a flight on Air Canada, the cheapest that we searched if you can believe, for January 5th, 2013. Over Christmas we had chatted with my brother Larry, in Edmonton, and we jokingly suggested he could come down to High River for a visit, and then take us to the airport for our return flight. He took the challenge and willingly agreed. We were very glad to see him at noon January 4th, and we visited the whole day through. So good to see him, but what a long way to come to take us to the airport. We had saved just enough food in the house for dinner and breakfast the morning we were leaving, as we had to have all perishable food gone when we left. Thanks Larry for coming down. Our special taxi the second year in a row!!